Intel Corp. has picked early January to release a truckload of new processors, industry sources said, including its first mobile Celeron chips for low-cost notebooks, and powerful Pentium II Xeon chips for workstations and servers that will sport a whopping 2 M bytes of level 2 cache memory.
Many of the new chips will be aimed at lower cost desktop and mobile PCs, as well as at so-called "mini-notebooks," an emerging class of lightweight portables.
On Jan. 7 Intel will launch a 300MHz Pentium MMX chip targeted for mobile computers including mini-notebooks, followed soon after by a 266MHz Celeron chip aimed at the same mobile market that will include 128 K bytes of Level 2 on-chip cache, the sources said.
Integrating cache memory on the same silicon as the microprocessor allows the processor to access data more quickly, boosting performance. The Celeron device will come in a BGA (ball grid array) package and will be designed solely for mini-notebook use, sources said.
For the notebook market, Intel has also picked January to introduce mobile Pentium II chips running at 333MHz and 366MHz, sources said. As expected, the mobile Pentium IIs will carry 256K bytes of on-chip Level 2 cache.
Also in early January Intel will increase the speed of its fastest desktop Celeron processor from 333MHz to 366MHz. As previously indicated by Intel, the chip will include 128K bytes of Level 2 cache.
In March Intel's roadmap calls for the release of a 400MHz version of Celeron for the desktop with a 66MHz front side "bus," sources said.
Later in the first quarter, perhaps as early as Feb. 26, Intel will roll out its long-awaited Katmai processors, which will include a set of new instructions designed to enhance the chips' multimedia capabilities. The Katmai New Instructions, or KNI, were previously dubbed MMX 2 by some analysts.
Also in early January, according to sources, Intel will release a 450MHz version of its Pentium II Xeon processor for workstations and servers. Intel has said the chip will come with three Level 2 cache options: 512 K bytes, 1 M byte or 2 M bytes. The chips will initially support only four-way systems, but will work in eight-way servers when Intel unveils its Profusion chipset in late February or early March, sources said.
Intel has also said it will introduce a chip for workstations and servers that will include the Katmai New Instructions, codenamed Tanner. Due soon after the Katmai release, Tanner will be introduced at 500MHz and initially will carry 1 M byte of Level 2 cache, Intel has said.